Conference speakers and guests

The speakers are listed in alphabetical order by surnames. This page will be updated as we confirm more speakers.

Andy Bryant, Executive Director, Segal Family Foundation                      

Andy Bryant joined the foundation as Executive Director in 2010. He leads the foundation’s team and implements the vision of the board of directors. He has overseen an increase in the foundation’s annual giving from $2 million in 2010 to over $18 million in 2022, alongside the growth of the partner portfolio from 30 organizations to now well over 300. This makes SFF the second largest U.S. foundation in Africa, behind only Gates. The most important quantifiable changes that Andy has overseen include:

  • African staff: Zero in 2010 to 70% in 2023
  • African-led partners: Zero in 2010 to over 85% in 2023
  • Grant decisions made in Africa: Zero in 2010 to 100% in 2023

He has worked in international development for many years in Africa and Asia, including positions with Tanzanian Children’s Fund and TechnoServe. Andy completed a BA from Princeton University in 2003 and subsequently graduated from Syracuse University in 2007 with a MPA in International Development. He also served as a Princeton in Africa Fellow. He has served on the board of directors or leadership councils for Big Bang Philanthropy, Last Mile Health, Komo Learning Centres, Princeton in Africa, and Spark MicroGrants.

Andy believes that local solutions are the best solutions. His challenge is to lead Segal Family Foundation and its exemplary staff and board in building the most influential development network in Sub-Saharan Africa, placing local visionaries at the helm.

James Chen, Chair, Chen Yet-Sen Family Foundation                          


James Chen is a Hong Kong based philanthropist. He is a key proponent of ‘moonshot philanthropy’, a model of audacious leadership which calls upon high net worth individuals to invest capital, time and expertise into high-risk, early-stage innovations to achieve global impact. James uses this form of philanthropy in his role as the Founder of Clearly - the internationally acclaimed campaign moved the dial on the United Nation’s first-ever resolution on vision in 2021 titled “Vision for Everyone”. Additionally, James is co-funding DRIVE - a set of nine randomised controlled research trials designed to inform policy to accelerate affordable eyecare, sustainable development and equity globally.

Dr Kirstin Ferguson AM                                                                            

Author, columnist and leadership expert


Kirstin is an award-winning and internationally acclaimed leadership expert, esteemed author and prominent figure in business leadership. In 2023 Kirstin was ranked as one of the top 50 thinkers in the world by Thinkers50 and was also recognised as a Member of the Order of Australia for her significant contributions to business and gender equality. With over 30 years of experience, she has held significant roles including CEO of a global consulting firm and board chair of various private, public, and government boards. Notably, she was appointed by the Australian Prime Minister to lead the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, while she began her career as a military officer in the Air Force. Kirstin has a PhD in leadership and culture and is the author of two award winning and bestselling books; her latest book is Head & Heart: The Art of Modern Leadership.

Safeena Husain, Founder and Board Member, Educate Girls                     

A social impact leader, Safeena Husain is the Founder and Board Member of Educate Girls – an Indian non-profit working towards empowering communities for girls’ education in some of India’s hardest-to-reach villages. In 2023, Safeena became a WISE Prize laureate, making her the first Indian woman to be honoured for her contributions to girls’ education in rural India.

Since its foundation in 2007, Educate Girls has achieved remarkable success, mobilising over 1.4 million girls for enrolment and supporting over 1.9 million students with remedial learning. The organisation works with over 21,000 community-based gender champions in some of the most marginalised communities in India to break the cycle of inequality and exclusion.

Under Safeena’s guidance, Educate Girls has become a leading force globally, harnessing innovative financing and technology to bridge the gender gap in education. Under her visionary leadership, Educate Girls delivered the world's first Development.

Danny Kennedy, Chief Energy Officer at New Energy Nexus                  

Danny Kennedy is the CEO of New Energy Nexus, connecting entrepreneurs everywhere to capital to build an abundant clean energy economy that benefits all. New Energy Nexus is a global platform organization for funds and incubators, with chapters in the USA, China, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, Uganda and India. He acts as Managing Director of the California Clean Energy Fund. This includes overseeing the of $25m for very early-stage companies driving innovation and building equity in the California economy and the $12m CalTestBed initiative with UCOP. He is an adviser to Young Greentech Entrepreneurs in China with the Asia Society. Kennedy also serves as President of CalCharge, a public-private partnership with DoE National Labs, universities in California, unions and companies, working to advance energy storage. 

Kennedy co-founded Sungevity in 2007, the company that created remote solar design, and Powerhouse, an incubator and fund in Oakland, CA. He was the first backer of Mosaic in 2011, the $1B solar loan provider, and remains on the Board of Powerhive, a solar mini-utility in Kenya. He was a founding Director of Sunergise, the solar-as-a-service business out of Fiji and the EnergyLab Australia. He is also a Director of the non-profits Power for All and the Epic Institute and is an adviser to the company Solar Philippines. Kennedy authored Rooftop Revolution: How Solar Power Can Save Our Economy – and Our Planet – from Dirty Energy in 2012. Prior to being an entrepreneur and investor he worked at Greenpeace and other NGOs on climate & energy since 1989.

Sara Lomelin, founding CEO, Philanthropy Together                             


Sara Lomelin is a connector of people and ideas, a relationship builder and a firm believer that everyone can be a philanthropist. A self-proclaimed philanthropy disruptor, Sara has travelled the world speaking about the power of collective giving at high-profile conferences and events, including TED 2022 where she delivered her talk, "Your Invitation to Disrupt Philanthropy." As founding CEO of Philanthropy Together, Sara is growing a movement of people-powered philanthropy to resource grassroots non-profits, shift power dynamics and promote widespread philanthropy. In 2023, Sara was named to Forbes’ 50 Over 50: Impact List.  

Prior to Philanthropy Together, Sara served as Senior Director of Leadership Philanthropy at Accion Opportunity Fund, and as VP of Philanthropy at the Latino Community Foundation where she created the Latino Giving Circle Network™—the largest network of Latinx philanthropists in the US. Sara serves on the National Council of the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and the Board of Directors of GivingTuesday and Battery Powered. Sara holds a BA from Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City and an Administration & Management Certificate from Harvard University.

Amanda Rishworth, Minister for Social Services                                          

Amanda Rishworth is Minister for Social Services.

Her diverse portfolio encompasses issues such as women’s safety, social security, delivering on an early years strategy, providing support for pensioners, improving the lives of Australians living with disability, tackling the harm caused by online wagering and social impact investing.

Prior to her appointment in 2022, she served as a Parliamentary Secretary in the Gillard Government in the areas of disabilities, carers, environment and water. In opposition Amanda served as an Assistant Minister in the education portfolio, Shadow Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel and Shadow Minister for Early Childhood Education and Youth.

Raised in Adelaide, Amanda graduated with a Bachelor of Psychology Honours from Flinders University and a Masters Degree in Psychology from Adelaide University. She started her career as a psychologist working with General Practitioners in the delivery of mental health care to the community.

Amanda is passionate about improving the lives of all people living in Australia and contributing towards a more inclusive and equitable society.